AT&T Will Build LTE Network for First Responders

It has just been reported that AT&T has won the $7 billion contract to build the FirstNet nationwide LTE network for first responders in the U.S.

FirstNet was created to be a force-multiplier (an attribute that dramatically increases the effectiveness of an item or group) for first responders to give public safety 21st century communication tools to help save lives, solve crimes and keep our communities and emergency responders safe. To do that, FirstNet will build a new Band Class 14 network designed to be reliable, functional, safe and secure, and provide optimal levels of operational capability at all times. Band 14 is a section of radio spectrum within the 700 MHz band reserved exclusively for public safety.  For the first time, public safety communications will be based on commercial standards. This will bring the benefits of lower costs, consumer-driven economies of scale and rapid evolution of advanced communication capabilities. Participants include the federal government, all 50 states, six territories, local government, and approximately 5.4 million first responders.

Industry experts have projected that the contractor will spend at least $40 billion to build the FirstNet system. The winner of the contract would expect to acquire prioritized public-safety customers that will subscribe to FirstNet, but they also will be able to sell excess network capacity—bandwidth not used by public safety at a given time — to commercial users, which is expected to make the FirstNet initiative financially viable for the contractor.

In telecommunications, Long-Term Evolution (LTE) is a standard for high-speed wireless communication for mobile phones and data terminals. It increases the capacity and speed using a different radio interface together with core network improvements.